Serving more than 70,000 students in the North Houston, TX area, Lone Star College has one of the largest managed audiovisual systems in higher education with more than 1,000 classrooms spanning 10 campuses. The entire college system is equipped with AV systems that are monitored 24/7/365 under a single, cohesive enterprise management system.
Lone Star College began implementing AV management systems developed by Texas-based TEKVOX in 2009. It is now deploying the company’s third-generation technology, the Drop-In A/V system.
TEKVOX Drop-Ins are a family of factory-built, factory-programmed managed AV systems that are designed to be easy to install and require no in-field configuration or programming. Drop-Ins come in distinct configurations for classrooms, lecture halls, conference rooms, and active learning labs and are customized at the manufacturer to meet customer requirements. All Drop-Ins feature built-in management systems that integrate into the campus enterprise management system once installed.
With its early-generation systems approaching a decade of operating life, Lone Star recently completed two AV refresh projects upgrading older rooms to current TEKVOX technology. Working with leading national education technology distributor Troxell Communications and local integration expert Cx2, Inc., the latest round featured a complete upgrade of 100 classrooms, including removal and replacement of AV technology as well as projectors, screens, and AV input devices. This 100-room refresh was completed in 20 working days with no disruption to scheduled classes.
To accomplish this in so little time, each of the three companies involved in the AV upgrade demonstrated its particular expertise while working together to achieve the project’s goal. Troxell provided the financial and logistical muscle to credibly handle all aspects of supplying equipment for 100 rooms to a public education entity. Cx2 provided the "eyes-on" ability to assess each target room, classify its priority status and any unique installation or equipment requirements, and handle project management with skilled technicians to conduct precisely timed de-install/install operations. TEKVOX supplied 100 units of its 71021-DI Drop-In A/V classroom solution—each individually programmed, configured, tested, and delivered, ready for installation, within a closely coordinated project schedule.
Because Lone Star College could allow little disruption of instructional activities even in targeted classrooms, precise coordination of the three companies was essential even before the final contract was awarded. To that end, Troxell selected Houston AV integrator Cx2 as its partner in the pre-bid stages.
“As a national solutions provider, Troxell has the privilege to work with many independent integrators who all do great work,” said Troxell account executive Adela Briner. “But, Cx2 stands out clearly in execution, efficiency, and experience, having completed more than 1,000 successful TEVKOX installations with us.”
Cx2 was tasked with assessing each room, identifying any unique requirements, and transmitting to TEKVOX a completed configuration worksheet identifying each room and the make and model of displays or projectors needed along with any special equipment.
Drawing on its workhorse 71021-DI Drop-In A/V classroom solution, TEKVOX’s manufacturing operation assembled, programmed, configured, tested, and kitted each individual room system prior to sending it to Cx2 for installation. The 71021-DI contains a complete managed AV system that includes all required electronics, cabling, and enclosures to connect the customer’s input devices to the projector or display.
While Claude Moore, president of Cx2, has personally been involved with numerous colleges and university installations and understands their unique needs for economical solutions that are installed as quickly and efficiently as possible, AV upgrades for 100 rooms in such a short period of time was unprecedented.
TEKVOX’s ability to deliver complete, ready-to-go Drop-In A/V systems significantly reduced installation time: Cx2 was able to install five room upgrades in the time it typically took to install one.
“We installed the AV systems off-hours from the classroom schedule to minimize any disruptions,” Moore said. “Having Drop-In, ready-to-install packages from TEKVOX made this possible.”
TEKVOX’s managed AV system was well suited for the project for three main reasons. First, all of the equipment was standardized and factory programmed resulting in an absolutely consistent user experience from room to room and campus to campus. Second, building on multigenerational technology, new systems integrate easily into the enterprise management system with prior generations of equipment. No new training is required for the support staff. Finally, with a platform that is kitted, configured, and programmed in the final stages of manufacturing, Drop-Ins are complete and highly standardized while accommodating room-specific variations.
TEKVOX CEO Jim Reinhart oversaw his company’s involvement in the Lone Star College installation and delivered on the promise to provide an economical AV managed system complete to the customer’s needs and requirements.
“We’re demystifying the pro AV industry by making customers aware of our complete, factory-built, pre-programmed solutions that are reliable and repeatable across rooms, buildings or campuses,” Reinhart said. “Managed AV systems should just work every time you power on, and we deliver on that promise.”
Since installation, the entire system is monitored 24/7/365 and maintains a 99.9 percent uptime with all software system updates occurring online.
“This was one of the largest and the best upgrades that we’ve ever seen,” said James Crawford, executive director of the office of technology services at Lone Star College. “It was a model of execution on the large scale that we needed, and it has been completely trouble free.”